La Aurora Cigar Institute has a large faculty consisting of leading figures in the tobacco industry who have worked in major tobacco multinationals throughout the world.

They impart their knowledge and passion about the art of the Premium Cigar.

Cigar Institute Teachers

Benjamín Menéndez

Associate Teacher

His name has been linked to the tobacco industry for more than 62 years ago.

Born in 1936 in Cuba, he has held important positions in General Cigar such as Senior Vice President, a position he held until he retired in 2013 and he has lived in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Brasil and Jamaica, besides Dominican Republic, due to this professional career.

He is the creator of some of the most prestigious brands worldwide.

Having him as part of the team of Cigar Institute teachers is certainly a privilege and a great opportunity to learn from one of the most important men in the cigar world.

Daniel Nuñez

Associate Teacher

He is an agricultural engineer from the University of Texas.

He acquired his first knowledge of the industry at the Tobacco Institute in 1972, where he spent two years working on the genetics of seed production.

In 1974, the Edgar Cullman firm  was seeking an engineer to start seeding layer in the Dominican Republic and it was he who finally undertook this project, gaining great knowledge from his three tutors; Edward Skorupski, Cheff Hinoski and Rey Perry. Later he would become president of General Cigars.

He observes that tobacco has its own language and we must learn to listen and interpret.

Guillermo León

Associate Teacher

He represents the fifth generation of his family in the world of tobacco and the third generation at the factory. He inherited his father’s passion for tobacco. After completing his studies he began working at La Aurora.

Imbued with his family’s values and with the goal of internationalization in the company’s management, Guillermo Leon has made this family business into a multinational that produces around a billion cigars a year that are sold in over 60 markets.

His knowledge of the business is definitely key in Cigar Institute courses.

Juan B. Ventura

Associate Teacher

Industrial Engineer, graduated from Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in 1978. He earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 1993.

He is currently director of operations at La Aurora, having occupied the position of director of quality assurance / research and development of tobacco industry at León Jimenes S.A. for the past 20 years.

He has participated in numerous seminars in Ecuador, Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and the United States. He is a certified instructor of Statistical Process Control (SPC) for Technicom and Clemson University of Richmond, Virginia.

Manuel Inoa

Associate Teacher

More than 31 years of experience support the career of this industrial engineer in the world of the Premium Cigar.

Born in Santiago de los Caballeros in 1961, Manuel began his professional life in General Cigar Dominicana and in 1996 he joined La Aurora where he took over the process of production of premium cigars to become the company’s Master Blender.

Leoncio Cruz

Associate Teacher

An agronomist and horticulturalist, he is part of the team at La Aurora, where he has spent 12 years as coordinator of special projects , the latter being a task that he has mastered since he is a specialist and thus a consultant on the cultivation and processing of tobacco.

His knowledge in the Cigar Institute will be linked to issues related to tobacco´s cultural labor, certification of the different tobacco black seeds, fermentation processes, classification of filer, binders and wrappers; knowledge which he acquired during his time as a researcher at the Black Tobacco program of the National Agricultural Research Institute (IDIAF). He also has done graduate programs on Black Tobacco at Pinal del Rio University, in Cuba.